This time last year, residents of northern Logan County were dealing with excessive heat and drought. This year is different and the numbers tell the story.
In July, Paris got 3.25 inches of rain as measured at the city’s water production plant. Some areas of north Logan County got more rain than that. Last July, Paris got 1.3 inches, according to water production plant manager Jason Cauthron, who keeps weather data. The average rain fall in July is 3.5 inches.
So far, 2.6 inches of rain has fallen this month at the water production plant and other areas of northern Logan County have gotten more than that. The average rain fall in August is 3.1 inches.
"We could reach that this week," Cauthron said Monday.
According to the National Weather Service forecast, the area had a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms Monday, a 60 percent chance Tuesday and a 50 percent chance today (Wednesday). After that, chances of thunderstorms drop to 10 percent through the weekend.
The numbers also show a serious drop in temperatures as compared to last July and August.
The average daily high in July this year was 93, according to Cauthron. Last July, the average daily high was 102. Last July, there were 23 days of highs above 100 degrees. Only once in July was the high above 100 degrees, Cauthron said.
The trend toward lower temperatures is forecast to continue, at least through the end of this week. A cold front is expected to move into the state from the north and highs in the mid to lower 80s are expected for the remainder of this week. Highs in the low 90s are being forecast for the early part of next week.
Although it may seem like it’s cooler, the area is experiencing a normal summer weather pattern after two years of abnormally hot weather.
In fact, the NWS Climate Prediction Center is calling for a normal August.
"We’re in equal chances for both temperature and precipitation," NWS meteorologist Amy Jankowski told the Fort Smith Times Record recently. "That just means that there really isn’t anything that is indicating below- or above-normal temperatures or below- or above-normal precipitation."
The weather has also caused a major drop in the demand for fresh water. In 2012, Paris was under some form of water conservation for seven months. This year, there only been one week when area residents were under a voluntary water conservation order.
Last July, the city’s water production plant produced 81.5 million gallons of water. In July this year, the plant produced just 74,956 gallons of water.
"That’s still a lot of water, but it’s a substantial difference," Cauthron said.